GM dealerships will be relieved to hear this.
General Motors made a huge splash when it announced plans to become an electric vehicle-only automaker by 2035. That's a significant goal considering it currently only sells two pure battery-electrics, the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV. Truthfully, that's one model available in two somewhat different body styles. The GMC Hummer is now on sale but first deliveries aren't expected until next fall. The production version of the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq hasn't even been revealed yet. Knowing all that, will GM manage to drop internal combustion engines entirely in just 14 years' time? Not necessarily.
Speaking to Automotive News, GM's North American chief Steve Carlisle acknowledged 2035 is purely the target, not a clear-cut promise. "We intend to win wherever we're competing and irrespective of propulsion system," he said. "At the same time, we're setting ourselves up for this pivot, which is inevitable."
Despite GM's intention to go all-electric, there's one critical factor that could stand its way: buyers. "We're all-in, but we need other people to join us," he emphasized. "In some cases, people want electric vehicles, but in a lot of cases, they're going to demand an ICE engine. We should always be driven by what our customers want."
These comments will surely come as a huge relief to a number of GM brand dealerships across the country who remain nervous about the bold EV-only plan. Carlisle and the rest of senior GM management are fully aware of this. That's why GM not only wants to help continue educating the public about EV benefits but will invest heavily in essential things like a charging infrastructure and other technical initiatives.
For example, the carmaker is working with the EVgo charging network and even government lobbyists to push lawmakers to pass the necessary funding. GM also recently announced it's teaming up with LG Chem to develop cheaper and more powerful batteries which in turn should bring down vehicle costs.
The Hummer EV, for example, can't be had for less than $80,000. An all-electric version of the popular Chevy Silverado will debut next year and it'll definitely cost significantly less than the Hummer. Change as drastic as eliminating ICE engines completely takes time and GM is being pragmatic. But new state-level legislation, such as Washington state's expected ban on new ICE vehicle sales after 2030, may force GM's hand.